Brisbane and beyond: the Rainbow Warrior tours Australia to #SaveTheReef

9 April 2013

When the Rainbow Warrior docked at Portside Wharf last week, the crew and I were thrilled to see dozens of locals and journalists ready and waiting for her to dock. Then the following day, we were blown away during our Rainbow Warrior Open Day.

More than 2000 people came on down to get on board to explore the ship and learn about our Save The Reef campaign.

Brisbane, you rock.

Living in Sydney, I’d forgotten how laid-back and friendly people in Brisbane are. They’re the kind of people who happily stand in long queues in the midday sun (some for up to three hours!) having a laugh, talking to neighbours, getting their faces painted, tapping their feet to the reggae beats and making it a beautiful experience for everyone involved.

As one visitor put it to me, Queenslanders “give a sh*t and they like to have a laugh. That’s why there are so many of us here today.”

After leaving Brisbane, we set our course for Townsville and the Great Barrier Reef.

The long journey north

I’m joining the ship crew temporarily through March and April to inspire Australians up and down the coast to join our campaign to protect the Great Barrier Reef from the destructive coal industry.

One of the amazing things about this ship is that its engines need only be used 10% of the time. Its 54-metre sails do most of the work, making he one of the most environmentally friendly ships in the world.

Needless to say, as a relatively inexperienced sailor, yesterday was a bit too queasy-fied for me to sit at a computer. Today, however I’m back in the game and now have my sea-legs.

Next stops

Our next four stops are Townsville, Bowen, Airlie Beach and Mackay, where hundreds of locals have booked tickets to come on board and explore the ship. I’m sorry to say that tickets have sold out, but you’re more than welcome to come on down, check out the exhibition and say hello to me and the crew.

I don’t doubt for a second that the people coming to see the ship are very aware of the impact that the reckless expansion of the coal industry has on their coastal communities. The Great Barrier Reef sustains 60,000  jobs in tourism, science and fishing to the tune of $6 billion.

There is too much at stake. The Reef is in serious danger and it is time for Queenslanders to stand up and be counted, for communities to fight to protect the places they love. These are the places of childhood memories and connection to land and sea.

Finally, I leave you with a message a supporter in Brisbane emailed us a week ago:

“I am prepared to pack my bags, my husband and my daughter and physically stand in the way of this outrageously irresponsible construction,Terminal Three at Abbot Point. I am a voter. I want my daughter to see the Reef as I did when I was a child.”

I’ll be tweeting live from the ship using @GreenpeaceAustP and #SaveTheReef throughout April. Follow us on our journey to save the Great Barrier Reef.

Blogpost by Jamie Ling, Digital Campaigner on board the Rainbow Warrior